General Background Information


            The SB 307 process was begun by Senator John Vasconcellos, CA State Senate District 13, to help preserve the remaining Japantowns in the State of California. Reports to him from the 3 Japantown meetings proved that these three, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose, were indeed the last three remaining clusters of Japanese American culture and community in the nation. While the 3 Japantowns initially undertook an investigation of State funding through Memberís Requests, the emergency sessions and funding needed to curb the energy crisis made Memberís Requests impossible.

             However, Sen. Vasconcellos then authored a bill, which, through many revisions, became the bill that was eventually approved by the Governor in October, 2001.  The Japantowns became a pilot project for the promise of an important piece of legislation that could be used to preserve other historic ethnic neighborhoods and communities in the State of California as well.


 Initially, the bill called for $2 million in funding. The funding was reduced through each committee and finally cut altogether by the Governor at his signature. However, Governor Davis did direct the Department of Parks and Recreation to allocate $150,000 to be used by the three Japantowns for the development of a specific plan and/or implementation of a plan as directed by SB 307. And he also directed the Japantowns to look to AB 1602 which became Prop 40 on the March, 2002 California State Ballot for additional funding.

Community Process and Historic Preservation

            As each of the Japantowns differ in process and community direction depending upon their state of development and agreements between each city and locale, each city is working separately, meeting on a fairly regular basis to keep each other appraised of current status.

            Each of the Japantowns did go through, separately, a City Resolution and Dept of Parks and Recreation grant application process however. Plans are being made for the three Japantowns to meet on June 20th in San Francisco for a coordinating workshop which will be facilitated by Bill Sugaya, an historic preservation consultant hired by the Japanese American Leadership Council of California. Each of the three Japantowns has consented to allocate a portion of their SB 307 funds toward these workshops to culminate in the evaluation mandated by SB 307. Diane Matsuda from the State Librarianís office will be working with the project also.

The San Jose Process:

            In San Jose, we have the advantage of having the Redevelopment Agency in a position to help with our planning process by funding a consultant who will work with the community to combine all the previous plans for this district by writing a strategy which will become a part of the specific plan. We also have a designated point person, Ric Soto-Lopez, for our SB 307 project which has been identified as policy guidelines for the City Maintenance Yard as a first step in implementation of the plan for Japantown.
           The SJ ad hoc committee will serve as the community group that the City will work with in the creation of these plans. The Japantown Business Association will be the fiscal agent through which money can be routed that will not go through City agencies. The SB 307 funding will go directly to the Cityís Office of Economic Development and/or the Redevelopment Agency and will most likely be given to Japantown through a reimbursement process. However, this process has yet to be finalized. The Japantown Business Association has taken on the responsibility of this project because of its involvement in the community locale on a day to day basis.

            The SB 307 funding is for the production of a specific plan and/or the implementation of such a plan. It is the job of the community committee to define Ďcultural preservationí so that it will be applicable for the next historic ethnic group to apply for funding if possible and add this and other definitions and guidelines to the specific plan of Japantown. The Redevelopment Agency has written a RFQ for a Japantown Strategy with input at each stage by the Japantown Business Association, again acting on behalf of the Japantown community as a Business Improvement District and neighborhood and community advocate.


October 5th, 2002

Breakout Sessions
Themes on Cultural Preservation

Japantown Community Congress of San Jose (JCCsj)
held the Third Town Hall January 24, 2004

Town Hall
Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
566 N. 5th Street, San Jose Japantown 95112

with Hon City Councilmember, Cindy Chavez
Cultural Preservation, Historic District Survey, CCLPEP Landmark Memorial, Signage, 'Ikoi no Ba'
and more to be discussed, previewed and reviewed.
Open to the public!

SYMPOSIUM held: Oct 6th, 2004

California Japantowns, Cultural Preservation Planninng Symposium. SB307 Reports, Findings and Recommendations. Wed Oct 6th at Wesley United Methodist Church, 566 N. 5th Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Symposium 1:30pm - 5pm, Reception, 5:30pm - 7:00pm

 Free and open to the public. RSVP required by October 1st. Paul Osaki at   


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